Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Halau Hula O Leionalani greeted the sunrise at Punalu`u this morning with a ceremony to open Ho`okupu Hula No Ka`u Cultural Festival, with music, hula and cultural presentations from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. today and Saturday at Pahala Plantation House. Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I COUNTY’S LAW PROHIBITING genetically modified organisms is pre-empted by state law, argued a lawyer who convinced a U.S. judge to invalidate a Kaua`i law requiring disclosure of use of GMO crops and pesticides. 
      According to a story in Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Margery Bronster said at a hearing yesterday, “We believe that the same ruling should follow here.” Bronster represents Hawai`i Floriculture and Nursery Association, Hawai`i Papaya Industry Association, Big Island Banana Growers Association, Hawai`i Cattlemen's Council, Pacific Floral Exchange, Biotechnology Industry Organization and various farmers.
Cultural Exchange between Lana`i, Japan and the Big Island kicked off last night
with dance and music in Pahala. Photo by Julia Neal
      Bronster argued that the Hawai`i County ordinance is more onerous than the Kaua`i one and adds to the challenges farmers face on the Big Island including blight and viruses, pests, hurricanes and vandals.
      Bronster also said the ordinance is in conflict with the state constitution that promotes diversified agriculture, including small farmers, flower growers, cattle and big seed companies.
      County Deputy Corporation Counsel Katherine Garson argued that the intention of the ordinance is to “promote non-GMO agriculture, plants and crops” and that the Big Island wanted to “promote itself as an eco-friendly place.”
      Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff, who represents the Center for Food Safety and some organic farmers, said supporters of the law do so to keep the Big Island from becoming like other counties.
      Achitoff argued that counties shouldn't have to rely on the state to regulate agriculture. He compared the situation to albizia trees that caused power outages when Tropical Storm Iselle hit the Big Island.
      “If the court is going to say only the state can regulate vegetation that may cause a problem, what happens to the county’s ability to say, ‘We have to get rid of these albizia trees before they fall on any power lines,’” he said.
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Triangle shows front of flow as it is expected to follow route marked by blue line toward Pahoa Transfer Station. Map from Hawai`i County Civil Defense

A NARROW CHANNEL IS ALLOWING LAVA to advance more quickly toward Apa`a Street on the outskirts of Pahoa. Civil Defense has closed Apa`a Street in anticipation of lava reaching the area today. At 7:45 a.m., lava was 250 yards from the area and had advanced approximately 300 yards since Civil Defense’s previous report. It is also currently about one mile from Pahoa Village Road.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kathryn Matayoshi
PRAISING HER “SUPERIOR ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP SKILLS,” the Hawai`i State Board of Education has given Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi a 2014 overall rating of “Exceeds Expectations.” 
      “The overall performance grade is ‘Exceeds Expectations,’ which is one step below the prior year, said BOE Chairman Don Horner. “The grade change reflects the increased bar of expectations and goals. Ms. Matayoshi continues to perform well by increasing departmental transparency, accountability and executing our joint strategic plan initiatives. We have made exceptional progress under her leadership. However, much work remains to be done, and effective communication with all stakeholders will be critical as we continue to move forward together.”
      In her 2013 evaluation Matayoshi was rated as “Exceptional.” The overall rating is based on the evaluation of the Superintendent’s overall management abilities and attainment of performance objectives and program accomplishments.
      The Board noted the forward movement of the department despite hiring and funding challenges and highlighted Matayoshi’s efforts in building stronger partnerships in areas that are critical to student success.
      “This has been a very challenging year for the Department, and I appreciate that the Board recognizes the progress in our strategic reforms,” Matayoshi told the Board. “We set very high goals, and we still have work to do in reaching our targets. The results show that our teachers and students are performing well and that we are making transformative change for the future of public education in Hawai`i with the help of community partners.”
      Matayoshi was named Superintendent in September 2010. In June 2014, the BOE re-appointed Matayoshi to serve another three years. The BOE/DOE Joint Strategic Plan focuses on three main goals: Student Success, Staff Success and Successful Systems of Support. The BOE monitors the DOE’s progress through its aligned committees – Student Achievement, Human Resources, Finance and Infrastructure – to increase both accountability and efficiency.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Participants in Ho`okupu Hula No Ka`u Cultural Festival gathered last night to prepare for performances. The festival takes place at Pahala Plantation House today and tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Workshops take place tomorrow. See hookupukau.com.
Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I STATE SENATE HAS CONFIRMED Margaret Masunaga’s appointment to a six-year District Court term. Supreme Court Justice Mark Recktenwald chose Masunaga from a list of six nominees.
      Masunaga is deputy corporation counsel for Hawai`i County. While she had support from Mayor Billy Kenoi, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusas, Hawai`i State Bar Association said she was not qualified due to a lack of civil and criminal law experience, according to a story in Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Anna Peach Photo by Ron Johnson
      “There is little reservation, if any, that Margaret Masunaga is qualified and will do a good job as the District Court judge of the Third Circuit,” said state Sen. Clayton Hee, chair of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee.
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

ANNA PEACH, OWNER OF THE COMMERCIAL Squash & Awe Farm on the dry side of Kamuela, gave presentations about her farming methods in Ka`u this week. Peach turned a quarter-acre plot of land into a commercial operation in 16 months. She uses all-organic methods to grow squash inter-planted with many other vegetables and native Hawaiian plants to attract a variety of pollinators from honeybees and bumble bees to butterflies, including Monarchs and the native Kamehamehas.
      Peach has learned to compost, build soil, raise worms, fix cars, make fish emulsion and even battle some of the world’s most destructive tropical ag pests, all while using sustainable methods. Using the local library, a few purchased books and some Internet research, along with simply working hard, she was able to learn these things. “So, if you feel like farming is beyond you, think again,” Peach said. “We can do whatever we set out to. The important thing is to try out your dreams.”
      According to Peach, “A farmer is only as good as their soil.” The soil where she farms is lower in quality than she needs, so she uses raised composting beds to build soil and grow her produce. “Although it is much more labor intensive than traditional till farming, the reward is a much more bountiful crop in a very small space. Another very important benefit is that you are building topsoil for yourself and the generations that will follow. A healthy plant fights off disease and pests, so a good feeding of nutrients gets you started strong.”
      See more at squashandawe.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sign along Hwy 11 directs motorists into Pahala, where walk-in voting takes place weekdays through Friday, Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Photo by Julia Neal
Cultural exchange continues in Pahala today and
tomorrow, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Photo by Julia Neal
WALK-IN VOTING IN ADVANCE OF THE NOV. 4 General Election is available at Pahala Community Center weekdays through next Friday, Oct. 31. Hours are 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

HO`OKUPU HULA NO KA`U CULTURAL FESTIVAL takes place on the grounds of the Plantation Manager’s House in the afternoons and evenings today and tomorrow. 
      The festival begins with `Ohana Night and an Opening Pule at 4 p.m. today, followed by Ho`okupu by Kumu Hula Haumana and others wishing to participate. At 4:30 p.m., Ernest Kalani takes the stage, followed by Keoki Kahumoku at 5 p.m. A Kukui Ceremony honoring ancestors will be held at 5:45 p.m., followed by music from the South Side Serenaders at 6 p.m. Music by Makanau begins at 7 p.m., followed by Steven Sioloa, Wailau Ryder and Ricky Masaoka at 8:15 p.m.
      All entertainment is open to the public with no fees.
      For more, see www.hookupukau.com.
      See more on the festival in this week’s Ka`u News Briefs and in this month’s issue of The Ka`u Calendar.

HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR COSTUME PARTY is a week from today on Friday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp’s Lava Lounge in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      Cover charge is $3 with costume or $5 without.
      Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.
      Call 967-8365 after 4 p.m. for additional information.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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